Lynchburg working toward future with new downtown master plan

Downtown 2040 is blueprint for future downtown decisions

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The city of Lynchburg is planning for the future and leaders are thinking big. Lynchburg's new downtown master plan will be the blueprint for what's to come.

The proposed master plan focuses on building upon the success the city is already experiencing. Parks and reusing current lots and buildings are the two major themes. The plan was unveiled for the first time Monday night and many people liked what they saw.

The Hill City you see today would not be possible had it not been for the work done two decades ago. Downtown Lynchburg's 2000 plan set this city up for success.

"We have completed so much of what had been recommended in the 2000 plan, it was time to look toward the future to see what else could be accomplished," Lynchburg City Planner Tom Martin said.

The Downtown 2040 plan is the vision connecting communities. It breaks downtown into four areas; Riverfront, Main Street, Monument Terrace and the Gateways. The Hill Studio of Roanoke is the consultant on the project.

"It makes it a little more difficult to address because one size won't fit all four. You have to customize your solution every few blocks," Hill Studios President David Hill said. "But if we can pull it off it makes it even more interesting."

On Monday night, people got a chance to see the big picture, which is focused on parks and making every little space downtown pop. Some of the ideas are a new amphitheater on the riverfront and an ice skating rink at the Clay Street Reservoir. 

"We moved here just after 2000 and saw all the development that happened over the last 15 years," Lynchburg resident Scott Wiebe said. "So to think about how this could go even further the next 20 was really exciting."

The master plan was compiled based on public feedback online, in person and on paper. It will go before the planning commission and then eventually on to the city council. Whatever version the council adopts will be used as reference for future construction in the city.

"That's why we're doing this plan, to, again, build on those successes and make Lynchburg an even better place to live, work and play," Martin said. "You could say, 'Hey Lynchburg is in a great spot.' which absolutely it is, but there’s always room for improvement.”

There are two pop-up booths in the city in August and people can visit them to learn more about the plan. The full plan can also be viewed here.

“What we're really working with is continuing the existing progress on redevelopment that's one of the key characteristics and then it's enhancing it to make every space in downtown really count," Hill said.

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